Just back from a couple of days that the Living Landscapes conference organised by Mike Pearson and Heike Roms at Aberystwyth University - theatre artists, professors of performance, geographers and choreographers. Hundreds of them. Landscape is HOT! I went to panels about Walking, Building Sites and Art in Forests! It was challenging and inspiring to hear such a range of thinking and discussion as we develop our 'Theatre Map of Wales'. Some of the students at Aberystwyth were doing particularly interesting work - using a lighthearted but thoughtful approach to discovery and development of ideas that made some of the more conventional talks seem a bit, well, coventional.

This week at NTW we have been hosting one of our Creative Time research projects - a tour of coastal towns by artist Marc Rees, and producer Sian Thomas. We've had a few of these 'Creative Visits' and 'Creative Time' Research projects now - exploring possible projects for next year's programme. But this was the first one with a public blog, so well done to Marc for working so hard to get the info out there. We learned some lessons about artist blogs - eg how often to post and how best to show pix (e.g a bit smaller next time); but hopefully it was interesting for people to see Marc and Sian's almost-live news as they progressed on a journey round the cost with the goal of looking at beachfront buildings and staying with as wide a range of landladies as possible!!

Look out for some news this week about an opportunity to visit Holland. We are working with Dutch company Peergroup to explore a potential collaboration and we may need to send one of you on a visit! Peergroup are a very interesting theatre company based in rural north Netherlands, with a really rigorous and full-on approach to creating work.

Talking of the Netherlands, I missed NDT2 (Netherlands Dance Theatre) at the Wales Millennium Centre as I was in Aberystwyth, but I hear they were great I did catch Blue Boy's Pied Piper at Breakin the Bay the week before. As some of you may know, I have a soft spot for all things Hip Hop, so really enjoyed the show, though our Creative Associate Catherine managed to persuade me not to show my breakdancing skills in the foyer afterwards... Another highlight at the WMC this week was the reading of Kaite O'Reilly's Peeling as part of the Unity Festival. It was great to be reminded what a fantastic play Peeling is. And there was a fine Welsh cast to do it justice.

I am doing a bit more traveling in the coming week with a trip to the Cork Midsummer Festivalof the Senses (sounds slightly racy, but I'm not complaining) - spreading the NTW word and, as always, looking for potential partners. News on that soon. Meantime, it's great to see the site being used so widely to profile the range of work going on in and beyond Wales - keep the blogs and posts coming, and have a peek at some of the new groups if you get a chance.

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Comment by Mathilde Lopez on June 29, 2009 at 16:29
I also went to Living Landscapes but did the active part of it, walking along the coast from Broth to Aberystwyth at 7am (leaving Cardiff at 3.30am), a wonderful and kamikaze idea from Wright and Sites.
Comment by Lucy Davies on June 22, 2009 at 16:09
While you were doing art in the forest, John, I was in London's unleafy East End at SLOW BOAT, a conference on sustainability at Arts Admin / Toynbee Studios. It closed a week of contemplation and events on the issue of the environment. How can theatre-makers, especially those of us for whom internationalism is key - help protect that art-filled forest? I'm proud of being in a nation which has been pioneering environmentalism decades ahead of others; and I'm passionate that our Sustainability Policy will ensure that from the way we function in the office; through the way we build (and renew) our sets; to the way we sell our shows; the well-being of the planet and the well-being of all of us is the filter for the choices we make. Did my carbon footprint calculator when I got home and it's zero! That's the virtue of riding a bike and using skype.

Hmmm John, so later this week you get Cork, and I get Newport...

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